Prepare for an Intel Corporation (INTC) Miss

For better or for worse, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)‘s bread and butter is still the PC market. As much progress as the company has made diversifying into servers and, to a much lesser extent, mobile chips, the top line still lives and dies by the PC right now. PCs used to be 69% of the business. That figure has come down to “just” 64% of the business in 2012, but that’s still a lot of leaning on a form factor seeing no growth these days.

Intel Corporation (INTC)

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) revenue breakdown by segment

Source: Intel 10-K. PCCG = PC Client Group. DCG = Data Center Group. SSG = Software and services. Other IA = Other Intel architecture.

With that computing market still stagnating, so do Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s prospects. Recent data from market researchers suggest that as bad as the PC market is faring, things are getting worse before they get better.

Sorry, PC
IDC was expecting global PC shipments to drop by 7.7% in the first quarter. The switch to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 has not been an easy one for PC players, and that will inevitably weigh on Chipzilla. That predicted decline is actually one of the better possible outcomes in the first quarter, as shipments could even reach double-digit negative territory if current trends hold up. The Chinese PC market in particular has been soft, and as the biggest PC market in the world, that weakness has a big impact on the big picture.

The only bright spot within the PC market is Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) , which is seeing Mac shipments roar back as it overcomes supply constraints related to the newly redesigned iMacs. NPD data showed domestic Mac shipments jumping 14% for the first two months of the year. Apple is still a relatively small player in the global PC market (roughly 5% market share), so strength there won’t fully compensate for weakness from everywhere else.